Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 1063–1082 | Cite as

Tourism as a threat to critically endangered and endangered birds: global patterns and trends in conservation hotspots

  • Rochelle StevenEmail author
  • J. Guy Castley
Original Paper


More than 12 % of bird species are threatened with extinction. Numerous anthropogenic activities and processes are considered responsible for such declines, including tourism related activities. These activities often occur in global biodiversity hotspots but few studies consider the potential risks associated with tourism. The relative importance of tourism as a threat to birds was quantified using a global analysis of the threats facing critically endangered and endangered birds in the hotspots. Sixty-three critically endangered and endangered bird species are reportedly threatened by tourism. Among those 63 species, marine, coastal and aquatic birds are threatened more by tourism than was expected. Hotspots with the most species threatened by tourism are Polynesia–Micronesia and the Mediterranean Basin. This study uses individual threatening processes in a new way to characterise hotspots for conservation action, advancing previous identification criteria. Analysing hotspots in terms of the relative presence of individual threatening processes may help to more effectively direct future research in these priority regions.


Birds Tourism Threatened species Impacts Red list 



BirdLife International provided access to spatial data for threatened bird species. Additional data related to the status of threatened birds were supplied by the IUCN and Birdlife International from their websites. Conservation International kindly makes their GIS layers for hotspots available online, facilitating these larger global analyses. The authors would also like to thank Dr Stuart Butchart and Dr Clare Morrison for valuable comments and recommendations on an earlier version of this manuscript.

Supplementary material

10531_2013_470_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (149 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 149 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Centre for Ecotourism Research, Griffith School of Environment, Griffith UniversityGold CoastAustralia

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